Pensioners could miss out on a £901 cash boost next year, ministers have hinted.

Under the triple lock – which guarantees an increase in line with average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is highest – pensioners would have been in line for a rise linked to wages from April.

That would have meant an 8.5% increase in their pensions, worth £901 across the year.

But ministers are considering whether to strip out the impact of public sector bonuses on the earnings figure, which could mean an increase of around 7.8% instead, potentially saving the Government hundreds of millions.

The Northern Echo: Works and Pensions Secretary Mel StrideWorks and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride (Image: PA)

That could result in some pensioners losing out on around £75 a year compared with an 8.5% rise.

Any attempt to tinker with the triple-lock mechanism would be highly controversial, but Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride stressed the need for any increases to take into account “affordability and the position of the economy”.

Mr Stride said the Government remains committed to the triple lock.

But asked whether that would be based on earnings including bonuses, the 8.5% figure, he told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “There clearly is a difference if you take into account the non-consolidated elements of pay in recent times, but these are all decisions that I have to take with the Chancellor as part of a very clear process, a statutory process actually, that I go through in the autumn.

“So I didn’t want me to get into the weeds of exactly how I’m going to go about that. But the overarching point about the triple lock is that we remain committed to it.”

Put to him that he was not ruling out using a lower figure based on earnings without bonuses, around 7.8%, Mr Stride said: “I’m not going to get drawn into those kinds of questions.”

No final decisions have yet been taken on the application of the triple lock, and the figures from the ONS could still be revised next month.

But while Mr Stride stressed that the triple lock remained in place, he acknowledged that in the long-term it was “not sustainable”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently declined to say if the policy would feature in his party’s manifesto at the general election expected next year.

How much could your pension increase by?

An 8.5% rise in the full new state pension could take it from around £204 per week to £221, or from around £10,600 to around £11,502 annually.

But a smaller rise of 7.8% would instead take it from around £204 per week to around £220, or around £11,427 annually.

A rise in the basic state pension of 8.5% would take it from around £156 per week to just under £170, or from around £8,122 to £8,814 per year.

But a 7.8% rise would mean an increase in the basic state pension to around £168 per week or around £8,756 per year.